Tag Archives: drunk driving

When you take the lifelong monkey off your back

I had the pleasure of taking on my first 5k this past Saturday.  It was for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and I decided to take on this challenge not only for my weight loss goal, but also to keep my voice heard regarding this matter.  We are all familiar with the loss of my father and I don’t want to keep hearing in the news about it happening again and again.  I got something out of it that I never expected…

I knew I would probably exchange polite conversation with people there since I was an individual walking on my own and not part of a team.  Boy was I right!  I was one of maybe a handful that were walking without a team.  I didn’t get to speak with too many people, but the ones that I did, it was life changing.  Not only was I speaking with people who had lost friends or family, but I was also meeting people who survived the accident themselves.  One woman had been hit while riding her bike; she has to use two canes for lengthy walks and has not completely retained her full brain capacity.  But the one story that felt like a huge weight had been lifted and a veil had been lifted from my eyes was the story that was pretty much play by play just like my father’s story.  She was riding with a friend that she trusted (who had too much to drink) and they decided they were invincible and decided to speed.  They flew off the road, ejecting the girl from the car and the driver escaped with little injury.  The following trial was tumultuous and left a bitter taste.  It was like a mirror of my own experience.

I cried on and off throughout the walk as 300 other people carried their own crosses.  But mine felt shared, finally, as it was empowering to see this particular group not brought down by sadness.  They celebrated her life and made sure to have the same mission as me, keep our voices heard.  I will never forget how awesome of a dad I had, but I will also never forget how it put that bitter veil over my eyes.  I never want to see that veil again and I never want to see it cast over another face.  But please do not think this is just about drunk driving; we all want to stop impaired driving.  These are all preventable accidents and with Washington having 42% of all traffic related deaths being attributed to alcohol, we need to do everything in our power to help those we know are in trouble.

If you are someone who has been affected by such an incident, please know you are not alone.  There is someone else out there that can set you free from your loneliness and help you gain control of the madness you feel.

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This mama looks forward to a new season-Momodcasts

I look forward to fall rolling in and I also look for tips to work on sanitizing my house as the gross viruses and bugs creep their way in! iTunes user or non-iTunes user

Side note: I’m doing my first 5k on October 13th for Walk like MADD.  As a lot of you know, I lost my father in a drunk driving accident and this is an important cause to me.  If you feel up for donating, please visit my page… http://support.madd.org/goto/chrystalmarner

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His Eyes Would Sparkle And Shine


It was 16 years ago and it was a beautiful Friday afternoon.  I was in 6th grade and had just completed my first week back to school after being at home for a bit with the chicken pox.  Getting those at 12 was just brutal.  I will never forget how relieved I was to come home that afternoon, but that relief was short lived when I saw my mother come home from work.  She had clearly been crying for quite some time and the gentleman she was with at the time had to help her walk into our house.  That afternoon my father had made a choice that would affect all of us for the rest of our lives….

My father had met at a local watering hole with his best buddy.  Who knows what they were actually there for; alcoholics don’t need reasons to be at these places, they are always there.  They, too, decided to make the best of the weather and go cruising down a back road.  Both had been drinking but only one had a license.  My dad had just been released from jail a few months earlier due to the ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ rule for drunk drivers.  He spent a couple months in jail and the only thing it changed was kept him from driving; he lost his license for a LONG time.  I guess we all felt relieved that he couldn’t drive anymore.

As they drove along this winding road, they attempted to maintain a high rate of speed through an upcoming s-curve.  They made it through the first half of the curve, but the second part, they were not so lucky.  The car they were riding in went hurling off the road before flipping several times and ejecting my father from the car.  The driver was trapped in the car with only a bruise on his neck from the seat belt.  My father went flying 30 feet from the car and was killed during the ejection as his head went through the portion of the car where the door closes with the car.  As the once white car comes to a rest in a crumpled metal ball, my father, too, was laying in the field in a crumpled pile.

My mother, after taking a while to compose herself, came from her bedroom and sat my sister and I down to talk with us.  She had informed us that our father was in another accident.  My parents had been divorced for a bit when this all happened and his accidents were a partial factor in that life changing decision.  I asked if we could go see him, assuming he was in a hospital or crashed out on someone’s couch again.  My mother shook her head and began to cry again.  She said he didn’t make it this time.  I was frozen, shocked still in my own skin.  How does a 12 year old and a 7 year old understand the death of a parent?  How do these children understand death at all?  I began to cry as I saw everyone around me crying.  I didn’t know what else to do.

When it came time to see my father one last time, I still felt frozen.  I was physically alive, but in all other senses, I was dead.  I truly don’t think I’ve ever recovered, but I’ve learned to accept those dead parts of me.  I walked up to his casket, not really sure of what I would see.  I wanted to see my dad the way I always had, the pale factory worker with dirty hands, scrubby hair and always a 5 o’clock shadow.  There was only one thing that was him, his attire.  They put him in his Harley-Davidson t-shirt and jeans with the worn out Converse athletic high tops he had had for almost 10 years.  But he had so much make up on his face to cover up all the swelling and bruising that he didn’t look like my dad.  They had an open casket, but he was faced so you couldn’t see one side of his face as his jaw was busted out and they put a turtle neck over his twisted neck.  The funeral home played a lot of my father’s favorite songs in the background as our family is not really into that organ music.  But it was when they decided to have him carried out to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ that all of a sudden all that was left of me was sucked out and I cried like I had never cried before.  Watching my family around me cry as they watched me cry just was too much.

The next year I would see society, the justice system and my family at their worst.  Court, money and moral battles took over our lives as everyone fought about everything.  My sister and I had to sit back and watch our lives continue to unravel all because my father decided to take a drunk joy ride one beautiful Friday afternoon.  Please, think about this story the next time you are about to get behind the wheel of a car.  Do you want to put a family through this?  Do you want to put yourself through the legal troubles that will follow?  If you or someone you know battles with this sort of problem, please share this story and let them know they can get help.  Friends and family don’t let the ones they love drive drunk.  Don’t change someone’s life this way.  Don’t let someone else have this kind of story to relive every day for the rest of their lives.

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